Luka Modric’s future at Tottenham Hotspur remains unclear, though we are told that talks are currently underway at White Hart Lane with Daniel Levy and the Spurs board desperate to keep hold of one of their most prized assets.
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Both Harry Redknapp and Levy have insisted that none of their top players will be leaving the club this season; however speculation over the future of the Croation playmaker has intensified significantly since he announced that a move across London to Chelsea was something that he would like to pursue. Modric has attracted the attention of several top clubs throughout this transfer window, most notably that of Chelsea and Manchester United, and it seems as though Tottenham’s run in the Champions League last season has left the midfielder with a taste of the competition, and a craving to be playing against the European elite consistently, year after year.
Confident that this consistency is guaranteed at a club such as Chelsea, Modric is exactly the kind of player that was missing at Stamford Bridge for much of last season.
After a season in which they completed the domestic double for the first time in their history, Chelsea released a number of key players that had helped them towards this success.
These players were by no means irreplaceable and included the likes of Michael Ballack, Joe Cole, and Deco, but they did need replacing nonetheless. These were the players that, more often than not, were capable of changing games – whether it be through creating chances, or scoring goals themselves, this Chelsea midfield was considered a force to be reckoned with. By the start of the 2010/11 campaign Ancelotti had brought in both Yossi Benayon and Ramires to fill the void that had been left in the Chelsea midfield.
Michael Essien was often found deep in his own half looking to break up play rather than pushing forward, and a season plagued with injury prevented Benayoun from having any real impact in the side. Ramires only really began to impress in the latter stages of a season in which he was never really able to show the Brazilian flair and creativeness that was expected of him after his £17m move from Benfica.
For years now Frank Lampard has been considered Chelsea’s talisman in midfield, and after the 2009/10 season in which he scored 22 goals and made 17 assists Chelsea fans could not be blamed for thinking that, even at 33, their ‘Super Frank’ would continue to give the kind of performances on the field that he had done so throughout his career.
Last season saw a Lampard that looked tired and frustrated for much of the campaign, and whilst his commitment to the club cannot be brought into question, it seems that his fitness and capabilities as Chelsea’s ‘main man’ in midfield probably can. What Chelsea are lacking it seems then, is a playmaker. Somebody who is agile, versatile, and capable of both creating and scoring goals themselves, yet is also able to track back and defend when asked to. Chelsea are lacking a Luka Modric.
Whilst his goal-scoring record is far from prolific, Modric brings an elegance and composure to his game that is hard to find in the Premier League. At only 5’8”, the Croatian manages to control the Tottenham midfield, and dictate the way in which they play, rarely misplacing a pass or mistiming a tackle. Chelsea have already had a bid of £22m rejected by Spurs, one that was put forward despite the club being manager-less at the time. We might assume then, that the midfielder is a target of Roman Abramovich more than anyone else, however it seems unlikely that the newly appointed Andre Villas-Boas will have any qualms with these attempts to obtain the services of a player so highly rated and in demand. Both Levy and Redknapp will be concerned that losing Modric may encourage other players to seek their football elsewhere and with the likes of Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart both being linked with moves away from White Hart Lane, the Tottenham faithful may have cause for concern should Modric make the short trip across to West London.
While Luka Modric would be a great asset to any club, it seems that he is a necessity for Chelsea if they are going to compete strongly both in Europe, and domestically in a title race that looks set to be one of the toughest and tightest for many years.
Article by Thomas Kenny
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